The old idea of climatic determinism of people’s thinking and acting is misleading because people continuously strive to create control over their lives. Perceived control over courses of action is often reduced by cold-induced or heat-induced stress. To restore control, rich people tend to use active internal strategies (e.g. buying or organizing) whereas poor people tend to adopt passive external strategies (e.g. seeking help or praying). To what extent might that strategic asymmetry in restoring control under stressful climate conditions affect psychosocial functioning? Here, we tentatively addressed this question by analyzing Gallup World Poll responses from 393 948 inhabitants of 145 countries. Our multi-level findings suggest that both colder-than-temperate and hotter-than-temperate climates are positively linked to the psychosocial functioning of richer people, but negatively associated with the psychosocial functioning of poorer people. Additionally, poorer people tend to live less free and effective lives in colder than in hotter climates. These conscious and unconscious links among temperature-induced stresses, wealth-induced resources, and psychosocial functioning are cross-validated at individual and collective levels between eastern and western parts of the Earth. The results open up new windows on climato-economic theorizing, modelling and policy making.